Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Daily Strike-1/19/10-What to Watch For in MA

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. This is just a quick entry to give you an idea of what to watch for when the votes are counted in tonight's special Senate Election in Massachusetts. You can follow my instant reactions on my Twitter account by clicking here. I'll be giving more analysis on what this election means in the coming days. I'll give you a hint: Obama and the Democrats need to make some serious changes.

Overall, the great Nate Silver projects that Republican Scott Brown has a 75% chance of winning tonight's election, based on all pre-election polling. Silver has never steered me wrong, so I'll hop on his bandwagon and agree with him. I think Coakley will have to pull some sort of rabbit out of her hat to win, possibly a massive voter turnout operation in the liberal parts of the state. Brown needs to transfer the enthusiasm he's seen at his rallies to the voting booth. Unfortunately, there will be no exit polling on this race, so we'll have to watch health care reform potentially die precinct, by precinct. Here's what you should be looking at when the votes start pouring in:

1. Turnout, turnout, turnout. Anecdotal reports suggest that turnout is high across the state, but it's unclear which candidate will benefit. If turnout is high in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville, Coakley does well. If turnout is high in the southern Boston suburbs, or in Central Mass., he will probably pull it out.

2. The map. I was trying to get an understanding of the political map in Massachusetts. The last truly competitive race statewide happened in 2002, when Republican Mitt Romney won the statehouse. In that election, Democrats ran well in Western Mass (the Berkshires), Boston proper, and the western and northern suburbs of Boston. Romney did well in the southern Boston suburbs and on the islands (Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard etc.) as well as the center of the state. To figure out who's doing well as the numbers trickle in, we'll need to know in which counties the votes have been counted. Rumor has it (according to Washington Post's The Fix) that heavily Democratic areas near Boston, like Somerville, Cambridge and Arlington, report their results early. If Brown does well in these areas, the race is over.

3. The leaks. The people with the best information will be those that are getting precinct-by-precinct vote tallies. These political operatives usually leak information to hyper-active political news outlets, like politico.com or talkingpointsmemo.com. Take these tidbits with a grain of salt: a lot of these leakers have partisan affiliations. But you can discern a sense of the mood in each camp by what "unnamed advisors" are saying.

4. Screw the whole thing and do something else. Due to Brown's lead in the polls, this might be the most appealing option out there to progressives. What else can you do on this Tuesday night?

-4 hours of The Office on TBS
-Watch Hockey: Sharks vs. Kings on TCN Ch. 8 in the DC area
-Baking! What makes you feel better than eating something sweet?
-Reading. Haven't picked up a book in awhile? Tonight's the night!
-Watch election returns. No not from this election, that's too depressing. Watch YouTube
videos of Obama's victory in 2008.
-Exercise...hit the gym, go for a run. Always a good choice.
-Hang out with those who know nothing about politics. For me, that's my cat. He has no idea that the Democrats are potentially squandering their 60-vote majority.

If the election gets too depressing, my Twittering may cease, and I may join you all in doing these more interesting activities.

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